2022 Achieve: Beth Riva

This Summer, three talented bowlers were part of the 66 athletes and coaches in Team Scotland’s Achieve programme who travelled to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. First run in 2010, the programme provides an opportunity for young and hopeful athletes to experience a Games environment first-hand, attend workshops and receive mentoring. We caught up with Aaron Betts, Danny Porter and Beth Riva to hear about their experience at the Games.

A recently capped under-25 Scottish Internationalist, Beth is also one of the 10 volunteers on our Empowering Women in Bowls working group. She told us about her time in Birmingham this Summer, catch up on her Q&A below.

Q1: Describe your experience of the Achieve programme…

“It was an amazing experience from start to finish. It was such a privilege to be a part of Team Scotland and meet so many amazing people, athletes, and coaches. Despite everyone coming from different sports and backgrounds, it was clear that we all shared the same ambitions and mindset, that likeminded connection was really brilliant to experience. Our group Mentor, Bob Easson is a really great guy and totally knows what he’s talking about when it comes to coaching/mentoring.

"We got to see hockey, netball, athletics, and bowls. We were only supposed to go to the bowling once but managed to blag our way into getting to the bowling twice to see Ian McLean’s medal matches! We spent a lot of time at Scotland House where we did a variety of workshops such as; Handling Pressure, Dealing with Success and Failure, and Media Training. We also got to meet some of the Team Scotland medallists at Scotland house like Ross Murdoch and Eilish McColgan. 

"We also got the opportunity to visit Team Scotland’s performance centre, which was really cool to see. We had a tour around the centre and did a few different workshops whilst we were there. We also got a talk from sports psychologist Misha Botting, which was really interesting. Bowling is such a mental sport so it was really helpful to learn more about the psychological side of competing. Misha provided lots of good advice but one piece of advice that stood out to me was that “you can’t control the result of a game, you can only control yourself, everything else is irrelevant.

"We had a talk from Rachel Corsie the Scotland women’s football team captain and it was really great to hear about her experience as a female in a male dominated sport." 

Q2: What was your personal highlight during your time at the Games?

“We also had a talk from David Smith MBE, which as cringey as it sounds, was pretty life changing. Hearing his story, the things he’s been through and what he’s managed to achieve was amazing. But not just what he’s achieved as an athlete just his genuine love for life was so inspiring to hear. This was probably my highlight of the whole trip.

"David provided lots of advice throughout the trip but one piece of advice that stood out to me was to “live where your feet are”.” 

Q3: How do you think this experience help shape your bowling career?

“It’s always been a dream of mine to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games but I think this experience and being a part of Team Scotland’s Achieve programme has really cemented that dream, and has made the dream feel a lot more achievable.”

Q4: After a brilliant medal haul from Team Scotland’s bowlers this year, what would your message be to encourage anyone thinking about trying bowls?

“Scotland’s Para bowlers did fantastically well this year with their clean sweep of gold medals. It really goes to show how inclusive bowling is as a sport, it doesn’t matter about your age or your ability anyone can take up bowling.”

Thanks to Beth for sharing her experience of the Achieve Programme, we look forward to seeing what comes next for this incredibly talented young bowler who is due to make her full ladies international debut in Belfast this October.

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